CREW Network Foundation scholars

Congratulations to our 2016 scholarship recipients

 

The CREW Network Foundation Scholarship program supports future female leaders as they pursue university-level education that will lead to careers in CREW Network's Qualified Fields of Commercial Real Estate.
 

Gianna Ciminello
 

Gianna Ciminello
Hometown: Scarsdale, New York
University: Junior at Villanova University
Focus of study: Finance and Real Estate

Gianna, a senior at Villanova University, is scheduled to graduate in May of 2017 with a degree in both Finance and Real Estate. Following her freshman year, Gianna pursued her business interest overseas in London by attending an 8-week summer program with EUSA while simultaneously gaining work experience as a sales and events intern at a 5-star boutique hotel. She credits her interest in commercial real estate to her experience as a property management intern for Related in NYC during the summer following her Sophomore year. The subsequent summer, she pursued a development internship at Pennrose in Philadelphia. She believes that her creative and entrepreneurial personality is a good fit as a development professional in the commercial real estate industry.

Outside the classroom, Gianna has found various ways of cultivating her leadership skills throughout positions on Villanova's Club Tennis team. She began as Secretary and then moved up to Tournament Director and finally she was elected President for her senior year. Gianna also plans to continue her position as a member of the Advisory Board for Villanova School of Business' Mentor Program and serve as a Peer Advisor for business students.

Gianna is confident that she will be able to foster her creativity in a unique way through commercial development. With her aptitude for learning and leading, she plans to use her skill set to produce the highest quality work and set an example for all other women interested in the real estate industry.
 

Sara Dir
 

Sara Dir
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
University: Senior, Queens University of Charlotte
Focus of study: Business Administration

Sara Dir, a senior majoring in Business Administration at Queens University of Charlotte, was first exposed to the world of real estate during an internship with Shook Kelley, an architectural design firm based in Charlotte, NC. During her time interning, she could not resist flipping through the countless magazines and booklets around her that touched on real estate, placemaking and the positive socio-economic implications that thoughtful planning could have on a community. Sara’s second encounter with the world of real estate was during the UCREW Table Talk panel event at Queens University. Sara learned that she could use her knowledge and experience in areas such as entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and business analytics to add value to the world of real estate.

She sees commercial real estate as a means of connecting the world together in a meaningful way. Sara states that, “Real estate has the ability to influence how people relate to one another and I find this to be very powerful. My interest in this industry lies in my personal philosophy that collaboration is integral to healthy communities and using design to unite others can have beneficial consequences…I understand that diversity enriches a community and can bring it closer together, but that it all begins with real estate.”

Sara’s background includes several leadership roles such Student Government President and Rotaract President. As graduation approaches in May of 2017, Sara is excited to be completing her degree and looking forward to beginning a career in real estate.
 

Elena Gonzalez
 

Elena Gonzalez
Hometown: Miami, Florida
University: Graduate, University of Miami
Focus of study: Real Estate Development and Urbanism

Elena is a graduate student at University of Miami. She obtained her Bachelors degree in Architectural Engineering in 2014 and is scheduled to earn her Masters in Real Estate Development and Urbanism in August 2017. Elena began learning about the industry early in life as her parents, both civil engineers, worked in construction and on multiple community development projects in Venezuela. She seeks to contribute her technical skillset and creativity on projects that include the development of thriving communities. Says Elena, “My interest in commercial real estate lies in the built space, the development of the structures in which we live, that shape and define our cities, and shelter our dreams”.

Elena is currently interning in Sabal Hill, a local development firm where she performs design and feasibility studies for mixed-use projects. She is assisting with the planning and pre-construction work on an office building slated to begin construction in Q1 2017. In addition to her internship work, Elena is an active student member of the Urban Land Institute, CREW-Miami, and USGBC. She is committed to sustainable practices and sees herself filling the gaps of communities by revitalizing and creating value through unique infill projects. Elena is passionate about the synergy of real estate and urbanism and is ready to embrace urban challenges with solutions that will transform neighborhoods.
 

Christine Grandin
 

Christine Grandin
Hometown: Coral Gables, Florida
University: Senior, Rollins College
Focus of study: Economics

Christine is a senior at Rollins College, majoring in Economics and minoring in Spanish and Sociology. She has been passionate about real estate for some time. Her passion for real estate grew while she was studying abroad in London during the fall of 2015, interning as a property analyst at Pro Capital, a real estate investment company. Christine is a leader on campus at Rollins, acting as the President of the Academic Honor Council. Outside of school, Christine has a love for yoga. She completed her 200-hour Ashtanga yoga teacher certification in June and is now teaching yoga to children in Orlando. She looks forward to attending business school following her final year as an undergraduate, focusing on real estate. She welcomes the challenge of working with a national commercial broker during her internship next summer.
 

Macey Jacobs
 

Macey Jacobs
Hometown: Yoakum, Texas
University: Senior, The University of Texas - Austin
Focus of study: Finance

Macey is a senior at The University of Texas at Austin studying finance with a concentration in real estate. She is heavily involved in the McCombs School of Business Undergraduate Real Estate program and currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing for the Undergraduate Real Estate Society. Macey’s passion for real estate began when she obtained her real estate salesperson’s license at age 18 and began working for a local apartment locating company. She has since had the opportunity to learn more about the real estate industry by interning with The Retail Connection and Brookfield Residential. Looking towards the future, Macey hopes to work in real estate development with a focus on mixed-use and master-planned developments. Says Macey, “Real estate is a relationship business where value can be derived from reputation and connectivity. I've worked hard to focus equally on my academic performance at UT Austin and on developing my network with real estate professionals through integrity and a diligent work ethic."
 

Kira Jordan
 

Kira Jordan
Hometown: Rutherford, North Carolina
University: Junior, Queens University of Charlotte
Focus of study: Business Administration

Kira is a junior at Queens University of Charlotte. She is majoring in Business Administration through the McColl School of Business. She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and currently serves as the Vice President of the Business Club. Kira grew up in Western North Carolina where she developed a passion for sustainable development. She always knew that she wanted to pursue this passion, but did not know how to combine it with her love for business. After attending a CREW panel discussion held at her University, she discovered that commercial real estate provides the perfect arena for collaboration between these two fields. Kira’s hope for a sustainable future and her dedication to her field of choice guarantee the entrance of a bright entrepreneur into the commercial real estate industry. Says Kira, “Sustainable development is an emerging domain that is quickly entering all business fields. The more I learn about commercial real estate, the more I recognize my opportunity for assisting with the convergence of these sectors.”
 

Kristen Knapp
 

Kristen Knapp
Hometown: Cedar Knolls, New Jersey
University: Senior, New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate
Focus of study: Real Estate

Kristen is a senior at NYU, majoring in Real Estate at the Schack Institute of Real Estate. Kristen’s interest in real estate began as a young girl and has developed through her education at NYU and varied work experiences. She has taken several courses in real estate finance, development, and law which has enabled her to obtain a holistic view and explore different business lines. At NYU, she founded the Real Estate Club and served as president for two years. In 2015, Kristen obtained her New York State Salesperson license, elevating her credentials and allowing her to take on new job opportunities. Kristen’s current interests are focused in development, capital markets, and operations. Kristen says she has built a unique collection of experiences and influences and is excited to take that knowledge and explore the industry.
 

Madeline O'Donnell
 

Madeline O’Donnell
Hometown: Marion, Iowa
University: Senior, University of Northern Iowa
Focus of study: Finance and Real Estate

Madeline is a senior at the University of Northern Iowa. She will graduate in May of 2017 with majors in real estate and finance. She credits her interest in commercial real estate to the first real estate course she took, and her interest has grown as she has seen the way her interests in architecture, finance, and market trends influence commercial real estate investments. Through her internship and work opportunities, she has gained experience in acquisition evaluation, trend analysis, and portfolio management. She plans to continue to use these skills in her future by working as an asset manager for a commercial real estate firm, and looks forward to inspiring other women to pursue careers in commercial real estate.
 

Cara Riordan
 

Cara Riordan
Hometown: Montclair, New Jersey
University: Graduate, University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign
Focus of study: Urban Planning

Urban planning and its intricacies caught Cara's interest early, growing up in metropolitan New York City and observing firsthand the connections between how people lived and worked, and the seemingly subtle but crucial role of proper planning in their day. She earned her BA in Urban and Regional Planning, with a concentration in Environmental Economics and Law, and Statistics, at the University of Illinois in 2016, graduating with a GPA of 3.82 and as a James Scholar. She is one of three in her program invited to matriculate in the school's Masters in Urban Planning program, where she now has a GPA of 3.91 en route to graduating in May 2017. Cara has strengthened her academic foundation with key internships, gaining practical understanding and respect for the countless and complex planning decisions made each day. She has experience in the public and private sector of planning, first interning with the Illinois municipalities of Champaign and Urbana during the school year, and most recently working on the Hudson Yards Redevelopment in Manhattan with The Related Companies. Cara's interests extend to her community as well. In addition to being involved with the American Planning Organization, Student Planning Organization and Planners Network, she is a founding member of her university's Club Field Hockey Team, and an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, a community service fraternity. Cara looks forward to a career in real estate that puts planning at its fore, creating spaces where we love to work, live and play.
 


 

Breanna Sheeler
Hometown: Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania
University: Junior, Philadelphia University
Focus of study: Architecture

Breanna is a rising junior pursuing a professional bachelor’s degree in architecture at Philadelphia University. Her interest in real estate blossomed throughout high school with electives and extracurriculars focusing on architectural design. Her commitment to the field has developed into key leadership roles at the collegiate level and beyond. She aided in the founding of a mentorship and networking program for students in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields. This past spring she led a group of student and faculty representatives to a state-wide conference to recruit for Philadelphia University and encourage high school students aspiring in the fields of technology. Through work study as a research assistant, Breanna is helping to establish a new master's degree at Philadelphia University in real estate management. She hopes to be one of the first students to complete the new program, and believes it will be a great asset to her career.

Throughout her education Breanna has kept a keen focus on sustainable design, and intends to establish a practice focusing on adaptive reuse and renovation upon her graduation. She says, “Through my career I will renovate to increase efficiency and functionality, and support the economical sustainability of society. I will seek innovative responses to real-world issues, and pursue the essential betterment of my community and world.”
 

Rachael Smith
 

Rachael Smith
Hometown: Britt, Iowa
University: Junior, University of Northern Iowa
Focus of study: Real Estate

Rachael is a junior at the University of Northern Iowa located in Cedar Falls, Iowa majoring in real estate with a minor in ethics. She has maintained a 3.88 grade point average and is expected to graduate in May of 2017. She serves as the Vice President of Finance for the Rho Epsilon Real Estate Club at the University of Northern Iowa. Rachael credits her initial interest in real estate to job shadowing a residential saleswomen who is a good family friend, while she was in high school. This sparked her interest in real estate, and her real estate courses have firmly increased her interest and desire to succeed in the commercial side of the field. In the future, Rachael hopes to work within a commercial real estate firm. Currently, she is interested in property management and asset management, but she is open to change and looking forward to exploring the many career opportunities in real estate and finding the perfect fit for herself. She is looking forward to working alongside and helping other women succeed in the commercial real estate industry.
 

Jessica Svehla
 

Jessica Svehla
Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska
University: Senior, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Focus of study: Interior Design

Jessica is entering her senior year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is majoring in Interior Design with a minor in Business Administration and is scheduled to graduate in May of 2017. She has been on the Dean’s List every semester, which recognizes the top 10% of the Architecture College. Jessica has also been involved in many University activities where she has taken on leadership roles. Currently Jessica is the President of the student chapter of ASID/IIDA. Through this involvement she has been able to foster professional relationships while developing leadership skills. Jessica has spent the summer working for an architecture firm in the Seattle area where she has gained valuable knowledge working with clients on project developments. Her interest in design and real estate can be traced back to her high school years where she had exposure to her local home builders association, as she was selected as the recipient of their design scholarship. In the future, Jessica looks forward to integrating her passion for design and real estate and finding the area of real estate where she can achieve this goal.
 

Catherine Welsh
 

Catherine Welsh
Hometown: Burlingame, California
University: Junior, Texas Christian University
Focus of study: Interior Design

Callie, an aspiring Interior Designer, is in the John D. Roach Honors College at Texas Christian University. She is hoping to step out into the world and find her place in the design industry. She is interested in all things art and design related, and looks at life with an open mind. A candidate for her B.S. degree at TCU in 2017, Callie will be studying abroad in Florence during the Spring of 2016. Having also spent four years as a child in England, it is her goal to bring a global perspective to her design career. She is interested in the whole spectrum of design, from commercial to residential, and is drawn to the look-and-feel and the practical applications of hotels, office buildings, and other commercial spaces. In addition to Interior Design, Callie is also passionate about promoting social justice and leadership, and is on the Student Board of Directors for Lead NOW (Network of Women), a program for underclasswomen looking to strengthen their leadership skills. Callie is very pleased to be a member of CREW and looks forward to the career guidance and networking opportunities she might find.
 

Midori Wong
 

Midori Wong
Hometown: San Diego, California
University: Graduate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Focus of study: Real Estate Development

Midori is a candidate for Master of Science, Real Estate Development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She joins MIT from San Diego, California, where she built a career in high-profile management positions intersecting real estate, politics and public service.

Midori’s commitment to the commercial real estate field crystallized during her undergraduate education at the University of California, San Diego, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with top program honors in Urban Studies and Planning. “What we build profoundly impacts lives and reflects the history, attitudes and potential of our country,” she says, “and my professional purpose in real estate is clear: to become part of a generation of city builders who advance its progress.”

Through shepherding contentious projects through public approval processes, she has developed strong skills in communication, presentation and working with diverse constituencies. After graduating from MIT, she will seek a career in urban projects, including public-private partnerships, redevelopment and social impact investment.
 

Elizabeth Zhang
 

Elizabeth Zhang
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
University: Senior at Queen’s University
Focus of study: Commerce

Elizabeth is entering her third year of undergraduate studies at Queen’s University in Canada, where she is interested in specializing in real estate development and investment theory. She became interested in the real estate sector after personal observations of the Toronto housing bubble. She is heavily involved in extra-curricular work at Queen’s, having been on the executive board of three different clubs in her second year. One of these organizations was the Queen’s Real Estate Association, in which she held the executive role of a Publications Director. For the upcoming academic year, Elizabeth is excited to be the Chief Financial Officer of the Queen’s Residence Society, dedicated to managing the housing operations of the University. Aside from her voluntary roles, Elizabeth worked in the summer of her first year at the Department of National Defense for the Canadian Federal Government, where she learned about military housing policies and worked on over 50 diverse case files regarding various housing issues. For the summer of her second year, Elizabeth is currently interning at Equitable Bank as a Residential Credit Mortgage funder, where she will be analyzing different mortgage deals and closing them under strict deadlines and time pressures. In the future, Elizabeth would like to obtain her OREA license and become a private part-time real estate agent to take advantage of the surge in demand for Toronto properties.
 

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CREW Network Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes. Furthermore, CREW Network Foundation is classified as a public charity under section 509(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code. CREW Network Foundation’s tax ID number is 48-1201724.

 

CREW Network Foundation Canada is recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organization. Contributions to the Annual Canadian Scholarship fund may be deductible as charitable contributions by Canadian residents. CREW Network Foundation Canada's Canadian Charitable Registration number is 80096 0478 RR00001. Checks paid in CAD should be mailed to: CREW Network Foundation Canada, PO Box 822, Stn. A Toronto, ON M5W 1G3 CANADA.
 

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Contact:

Heidi Warren
CREW Network Foundation Coordinator
heidiw@crewnetwork.org
+1 (785) 856-8287